Breaking Down Chicago's TIF District Spending
Revenue from Chicago’s TIF Districts
As TIF districts have spread throughout Chicago, and the city’s property values have risen, the property taxes they collect have grown dramatically, funneling over $4 billion to the city since 1986.
How TIF Dollars Were Spent
The bulk of the $1.69 billion in property taxes the city spent between 2002 and late 2010 went to infrastructure and public facilities.
To track how the city has spent TIF funds, the Chicago News Cooperative obtained TIF expense reports from the Chicago Department of Finance through a Freedom of Information Act request. The records were not listed by spending category, so the CNC categorized thousands of payments according to the type of spending, ultimately tracking all but 2 percent of the city’s TIF spending, and making it possible to provide a detailed breakdown of how TIF dollars were spent during Daley’s final two terms. Click here to download CNC’s data.
|SPENDING TYPE||SPENDING SUB-TYPE||TOTAL SPENT|
|PUBLIC FACILITIES||School Construction & Rehab||331,385,306.30|
|PUBLIC FACILITIES||Park Improvements||142,406,189.86|
|PUBLIC FACILITIES||L Station Improvements||77,469,492.81|
|PUBLIC FACILITIES||Misc Public Facility Expenses||46,324,264.38|
|PUBLIC FACILITIES||Library Construction||13,092,748.17|
|PUBLIC FACILITIES||Gallery 37 Building Improvements||7,690,843.86|
|PUBLIC FACILITIES||Metra Planning & Station Improvements||4,822,917.82|
|PUBLIC FACILITIES||Police Academy Rehab||4,313,647.70|
|PUBLIC FACILITIES||Household Waste Recycling Center Construction||1,075,998.62|
|INFRASTRUCTURE||Misc Infrastructure Expenses||37,127,635.91|
|INFRASTRUCTURE||ADA Ramp Construction||6,477,880.29|
|INFRASTRUCTURE||Traffic Studies & Management||5,208,656.91|
|INFRASTRUCTURE||River Bank Stabilization||5,036,970.78|
|INFRASTRUCTURE||Parking Planning & Construction||888,379.03|
|INFRASTRUCTURE||Bike Path Construction||332,442.55|
|COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTS||Developer Subsidies||360,896,632.77|
|COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTS||Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF)||24,666,558.20|
|COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTS||Special Service Area Program (SSA)||6,478,000.00|
|COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTS||Green Roof Improvement Fund||1,014,455.00|
|COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTS||Central Loop Improvement Fund||632,625.00|
|COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENTS||Facade Rebate Program||538,106.00|
|HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS||Developer Subsidies||84,959,785.23|
|HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS||Neighborhood Improvement Program (NIP)||15,171,454.86|
|HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS||Public Housing||11,249,327.31|
|PROPERTY||Property Acquisition & Appraisal||149,926,311|
|PROPERTY||Misc Property Expenses||4,690,921.51|
|JOB TRAINING||TIFWorks Program||14,740,835.23|
|JOB TRAINING||Misc Job Training Expenses||3,455,781.31|
|CONSULTING/LEGAL SERVICES||Finance/Professional Services||1,244,765.54|
|CONSULTING/LEGAL SERVICES||Misc Consulting Expenses||686,864.31|
|ADMINISTRATIVE/STAFF COSTS||Employee Costs||47,046,426.75|
|ADMINISTRATIVE/STAFF COSTS||TIF District Annual Reports||3,624,600.50|
|ADMINISTRATIVE/STAFF COSTS||Office Expenses||1,504,700.69|
|ADMINISTRATIVE/STAFF COSTS||Program Management Costs||1,035,341.32|
|ADMINISTRATIVE/STAFF COSTS||Misc Admin/Staff Expenses||736,303.81|
Where TIF Dollars Were Spent
TIF districts are designed to help blighted areas. As the map of median household income (left) shows, most districts do cover poor areas. However, as the TIF spending map (right) shows, many of the highest-spending TIF districts have been clustered in or around the city’s wealthy downtow. TIF funds can only be spent in the districts that generate them, or in adjacent districts.
The result: just under half of the money spent between 2002 and 2010 went to districts in and around the Loop, where the median household income is roughly $75,000 a year. Less than one fourth went to the South and West Sides, where median incomes are about $35,000.
Although there were few TIF districts with high spending levels, they accounted for a disproportionate amount of the city’s overall TIF outlays.